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Player Misses the Ball and It Falls Off the Tee


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Player addresses the ball in the tee box, he then  swings and misses the ball and ball falls off the tee.   Player is informed that he must play the ball as it lies, hitting two. Player decides to pick up the ball and re-tee without assessing himself a penalty, then proceeds to finish the round. 

Q-1  What should have the player been penalized under the rules of golf for re-teeing the ball, stroke-wise?

Q-2 What should be the end result for finishing the round without assessing the penalty? 

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Two rules apply here, which I'll go into depth later. I can briefly answer your questions up front though.

1) One stroke penalty, and the ball must be replaced (under Rule 9.4)

2) Disqualification (under Rules 1.3.b.1 and 3.3.b.3)

For the first question, Rule 9.4 states the following:

Quote

9.4  Ball Lifted or Moved by Player

This Rule applies only when it is known or virtually certain that a player (including the player’s caddie) lifted his or her ball at rest or caused it to move.

a. When Lifted or Moved Ball Must Be Replaced

If the player lifts his or her ball at rest or causes it to move, the ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated) (see Rule 14.2), except:

  • When the player lifts the ball under a Rule to take relief or to replace the ball on a different spot (see Rules 14.2d and 14.2e), or

  • When the ball moves only after the player has begun the stroke or the backswing for a stroke and then goes on to make the stroke (see Rule 9.1b).

b. Penalty for Lifting or Deliberately Touching Ball or Causing It to Move

If the player lifts or deliberately touches his or her ball at rest or causes it to move, the player gets one penalty stroke.

But there are four exceptions:

Exception 1 – Player Allowed to Lift or Move Ball: There is no penalty when the player lifts the ball or causes it to move under a Rule that:

  • Allows the ball to be lifted and then replaced on its original spot,

  • Requires a moved ball to be replaced on its original spot, or

  • Requires or allows the player to drop or place a ball again or to play a ball from a different place.

Exception 2 – Accidental Movement Before Ball Is Found: There is no penalty when the player accidentally causes the ball to movewhile trying to find or identify it (see Rule 7.4).

Exception 3 – Accidental Movement on Putting Green: There is no penalty when the player accidentally causes the ball to move on the putting green (see Rule 13.1d), no matter how that happens.

Exception 4 – Accidental Movement Anywhere Except on Putting Green While Applying Rule: There is no penalty when the player accidentally causes the ball to move anywhere except on the putting green while taking reasonable actions to:

  • Mark the spot of the ball or lift or replace the ball, when allowed to do so (see Rules 14.1 and 14.2),

  • Remove a movable obstruction (see Rule 15.2),

  • Restore worsened conditions, when allowed to do so (see Rule 8.1d),

  • Take relief under a Rule, including in determining whether relief is available under a Rule (such as swinging a club to see if there is interference from a condition), or where to take relief (such as determining the nearest point of complete relief), or

  • Measure under a Rule (such as to decide the order of play under Rule 6.4).

Penalty for Playing Incorrectly Substituted Ball or Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Rule 9.4: General Penalty under Rule 6.3b or 14.7a.

If multiple Rule breaches result from a single act or related acts, see Rule 1.3c(4).

Obviously none of the exceptions for Rule 9.4 apply here, and the player should be penalized 1 stroke and is required to replace the ball on the ground where it fell from the tee originally.

The primary concern of the second question is rule 1.3.b.1, which states:

Quote

(1) Player Responsibility for Applying the Rules. Players are responsible for applying the Rules to themselves:

  • Players are expected to recognize when they have breached a Rule and to be honest in applying their own penalties.

    • If a player knows that he or she has breached a Rule that involves a penalty and deliberately fails to apply the penalty, the player is disqualified.

    • If two or more players deliberately agree to ignore any Rule or penalty they know applies and any of those players have started the round, they are disqualified (even if they have not yet acted on the agreement).

The second question's second concern is Rule 3.3.b.3, which states:

Quote

(3) Wrong Score for a Hole. If the player returns a scorecard with a wrong score for any hole:

  • Returned Score Higher Than Actual Score. The higher returned score for the hole stands.

  • Returned Score Lower Than Actual Score or No Score Returned. The player is disqualified.

The only exception to this rule is for a failure to include an unknown penalty, which does not apply to this scenario. The player should be disqualified if he/she returns a scorecard without adding the penalty.

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Look at Rules 6.2b(5) and (6):

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(5) Ball Is Not in Play Until Stroke Is Made. Whether the ball is teed or on the ground, when starting a hole or playing again from the teeing area. under a Rule:

  • The ball is not in play until the player makes a stroke at it, and

  • The ball may be lifted or moved without penalty before the stroke is made.

If a teed ball falls off the tee or is knocked off the tee by the player before the player has made a stroke at it, it may be re-teed anywhere in the teeing area without penalty.

But if the player makes a stroke at that ball while it is falling or after it has fallen off, there is no penalty, the stroke counts and the ball is in play

(6) When Ball in Play Lies in Teeing Area. If the player’s ball in play is in the teeing area after a stroke (such as a teed ball after a stroke that missed the ball) or after taking relief, the player may:

  • Lift or move the ball without penalty (see Rule 9.4b, Exception 1), and

  • Play that ball or another ball from anywhere in the teeing area from a tee or the ground under (2), including playing the ball as it lies.

I'm assuming the ball remained in the teeing area (i.e., the area two club lengths behind the tee markers). It sounds like it likely did. Assuming the player meant to hit the ball, he gets a stroke for making that stroke. Then, he can tee it back up or play it as it lies. No penalty. Once he hits that shot, he has now made 2 strokes.

The rules @Pretzel quoted are for when a ball is moved when you're not making a stroke at it.

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1 hour ago, DeadMan said:

 When Ball in Play Lies in Teeing Area. If the player’s ball in play is in the teeing area after a stroke (such as a teed ball after a stroke that missed the ball) or after taking relief, the player may:

  • Lift or move the ball without penalty (see Rule 9.4b, Exception 1), and

  • Play that ball or another ball from anywhere in the teeing area from a tee or the ground under (2), including playing the ball as it lies.

This is very under publicised addition to the Rules

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  • billchao changed the title to Player Misses the Ball and It Falls Off the Tee
On 4/17/2019 at 2:10 PM, DeadMan said:

The rules @Pretzel quoted are for when a ball is moved when you're not making a stroke at it.

Yes, because he asked about what would happen if you re-teed the ball and played it regardless of the rule against doing so. It seemed as though he knew you got a 1 stroke penalty if you intended to hit the ball but whiffed.

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39 minutes ago, Pretzel said:

Yes, because he asked about what would happen if you re-teed the ball and played it regardless of the rule against doing so. It seemed as though he knew you got a 1 stroke penalty if you intended to hit the ball but whiffed.

What rule against doing so? The ball is (still) in the teeing area.

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5 minutes ago, Rulesman said:

What rule against doing so? The ball is (still) in the teeing area.

That's true, I was assuming that the ball had moved forwards when it fell off the tee. I was thinking of what happened to Zach Johnson at the Masters, except when the player was intending to hit the ball.

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